Tag: Temple

Daniel Andrews visits Sankat Mochan Temple

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By SAT News Desk

Melbourne, 1 December: The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today had a first-hand experience of Indian hospitality laced with spiritual vitality and devotion. He was on a visit to the Sankat Mochan Temple, Huntingdale with Member for Oakleigh, Steve Dimopoulos, MP, where they were welcomed by Mr. Arvind Srivastava, Mrs. Sunila Srivastava along with an array of devotees.

The guests were taken around the temple premises and the Premier took a keen interest in it and inquired and listened to the plans to improve facilities at the place of worship. Aarti was performed and the Premier honored with the traditional shawl by the temple priest.

Addressing the august gathering Mr. Srivastava detailed the Hindu spiritual traditions and the various activities of the Sankat Mochan Temple.

Hon. Daniel Andrews in his speech said, “I was delighted to visit the Sankat Mochan Temple and see the fantastic work it does as one of the best supporters of our local Indian community.”

He advised the Sankat Mochan Samiti (the committee that runs the temple) to wisely and in detail draw up the plans for the temple’s expansion which would help the State government to look into the matter.

The Premier then mixed with the devotees and posed for pictures while having Indian snacks.

Religion, Peace and Violence

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By Ram Punyani

The global scenario is full of violence in the name of religion. The acts of terrorism are attributed to religious teachings at times. The local violence, the attack on religious minorities is also presented as a religious phenomenon. The last three decades have seen this tragic phenomenon where the political agenda of super power on one hand and the agenda of fundamentalist-fascist groups on the other have been given the veneer of religion. The major theory underlying the US policy in the oil zone has derived its legitimacy from Samuel Huntington theory of ‘Clash of Civilizations’. In South Asian countries spanning from Pakistan to Myanmar to Sri Lanka, the religious minorities have been on the firing line, have been facing a violence orchestrated by those practicing ‘religious nationalism’, those who on the pretext of defense of their religion, target the religious minorities. Be it the Hindus and Christians in Pakistan, Christians and Muslims in India, Buddhists and Hindus in Bangla Desh, Muslims in Myanmar or Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka, the violence has been stalking them in one or the other form. This has increased the feeling of insecurity of religious minorities and also has eroded their rights as citizens.
What has the moral teachings of religion to do with all this? Nothing whatsoever. Still the popular perceptions and propaganda of the religious nationalist groups has been so pernicious that a ‘social common sense’ has been created, which gives credence to the role of religion in this violence.
It is in this light that three major statements from leaders, two of them religious and one political have come as a breath of fresh air, delinking religion from violence and espousing the peace making role of religion. Surely, religion is the most complex social phenomenon. It does encompass the element of moral values, values of humanism, so to say, on one side. At the same time it encompasses more visible facets of identity like rituals, Holy books, places of worship, the clergy and Holy Scriptures. At another level it has the element of faith in the supernatural power, deities. Surely, some of the religions did not talk of the supernatural power. In those religions, the prophets of the religions themselves, in due course have been given the exalted position of the God. This element of faith in supernatural is varying in degrees but is present all the same in different religions. These three statements, which struck the author all, came from people of diverse religious streams.
The first one came from Pope Francis while deliberating on the future of the church and redefining long-held Catholic doctrines and dogmas. The recently held ‘Third Vatican Council’ concluded with Pope Francis announcing that Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone….” In a very profound manner he went on to say that “God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace… Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice!”
He added “because Muslims, Hindus and African Animists are also made in the very likeness and image of God, to hate them is to hate God…Whether we worship at a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a mandir, it does not matter. Whether we call God, Jesus, Adonai, Allah or Krishna, we all worship the same God of love. This truth is self-evident to all who have love and humility in their hearts!” “God is changing and evolving as we are, for God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it.”
This lengthy quote from his speech demolishes so many of the intolerant attitudes towards, ‘others’, towards those having different norms, towards those having different sexual orientation as well. We witnessed recently in India that most of the clergy of different religions welcomed the Supreme Court decision whereby same sex relations are regarded as a crime. This quote from Pope also goes against the ideology of “Clash of Civilizations”; and the media propaganda whereby people of other religions are looked down upon, and Muslims in particular are demonized by large section of people. The biggest contribution of Pope is to emphasize on respect-tolerance for those who are different from us. It also outlines that we cannot stick to dogmas which were brought in the name of religion at particular time, in the times gone by. This is an extremely welcome stance taken by the highest authority of Catholic faith, something which can be the role model for clergy of other religions to emulate.

Not to be left behind, the founding-leader and patron-in-chief of Minhaj-ul-Quran International and author of the acclaimed book Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri condemned all acts of terrorism and said that the concept of “Jihad has been hijacked by terrorists”. He is precisely on the dot as the word Jihad has been given the dastardly meaning by the Salafi version of Islam, a version picked up by the US for trainings in especially set up Madrassas, from where the Mujahidin, Taliban, Al Qaeda were brought up. The politics of control on the oil resources took an inhuman form where United States proactively picked up the pervert version of Islam and popularized as ‘the Islam’, aided and assisted by its minions and large section of World media aping US in most of the matters. Dr. Mohammad, is in line with the Sufi version of Islam, where tolerance for others and celebration of diversity has been the norm. In the name of this Jihad; so much damage has been done to the human race, to redo which massive efforts are needed and one lauds the efforts of those scholars and clerics of Islam who have presented the human, tolerant face of Islam Worldwide. One cannot forget to mention the great Islamic Scholar, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, who strove till the end of his life to present the Islam in the proper light, in the light of values of amity and peace. Surely even today there are many who are aggressively promoting the intolerant versions of Islam, the likes of Dr. Zakir Naik, who are doing great disservice to Islam and human society.

Swami Vivekananda is the latest icon to be hijacked by the politics of intolerance. Those who have spread hatred for religious minorities are projecting him to be their messiah. In this light Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh statement is very praiseworthy. Dr. Singh points out that “true religion cannot be the basis of hatred and division, but of mutual respect and tolerance for faiths and beliefs of all.”

One does note the glaring differences in the interpretation of same religion. One can note the diverse and opposite ways in which political actions take place in the name of same religion. Two or three examples are very obvious. From Hinduism one can see Mahatma Gandhi on one side and Nathuram Godse on the other. In Islam one can see Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on one side and Osama bin Laden and the Muslim nationalists on the other. Same way one can see Pope Francis on one side and Anders Berling Brevik (Norwegian terrorist who killed 86 youth) on the other. It is the same religion in whose name such opposite stands are taken. We need to wake up to free ourselves from the ossified, intolerant views of religions and stand for humanistic teaching and tolerant traditions of religions.

Source: Plural India

Letters on Priest verdict

LETTER-1

Dear Editor

As a member of the Hindu community I feel ashamed and deeply sorry for the conduct of the Hindu priest who has been convicted for the indecent assault on 2 victims.

His behavior is not at all acceptable under the Hindu norms or not even under humanitarian law.
We Hindus migrated in large numbers in early 1980′s formed the Hindu society of Victoria to propagate of our eternal religion and principles through good conduct,non violence(ahimsa) and love .
However the priest’s conduct has been a blackmark in our endeavours .

On behalf of the Hindus in Australia I want to say sorry to the Australian public and pardon us for this one man.

Nava ILANKO
Founder member
Hindu society.
Melbourne

LETTER-2

Dear Editor

Priest Premakanthan Rajaratnasarma from the Shri Shiva Vishu Temple in Carrum Downs has been found guilty of indescent assault on a 23-year-old woman around July 2004, as reported in the True Local news of 7 June 2011.

Ardent members of the Hindu Community, whilst stunned at this allegation, are now amazed at the courts findings. A popular saying amongst Hindus goes “Sirf Upar waleh hi sab saaf dekhta hai”, translated roughly it means that only the good Lord can see the reality clearly…what has transpired is known only to He, the Alleged and the Victim.

The Hindu Society of Victoria’s image would remain untarnished despite all these….

Yogen Laxman
Life Member and Trust Director
HSV Charitable Trust
Melbourne

LETTER-3

Dear Editor

How light can a sentence get for a filthy male that has abused female youth? Whilst sentencing Premakanthan the so-called “Hindu” priest for an 18 month jail sentence (suspended for two years), his supposed health issues and eventual guilty plea (which came after several years of pleading not guilty) were taken into account.
As an Australian born eastern girl, I would like to know why this man’s abuse of power, family history of sexual abuse, the psychological trauma his victims experienced and the horrendous acts of sexual assault were not deeply considered in his sentencing. Surely, if they were considered, he definitely would have had a much harsher outcome. The fact that temple authorities were quick to jump on the “support the priest” bandwagon has discouraged my Hindu friends from frequenting the temple site. Attempts were made to get the victims to drop their case.
This shows that temple authorities acknowledge the priest was wrong for why would attempts be made to someone to get the case hushed up. They had a weak case. Imagine if these vulnerable girls were in need of the cash and actually dropped the case? This vulgar being would still be inviting vulnerable young women to have their “horoscopes checked” and would claim he has a divine gift to cure their problems by sexually molesting them.
These victims could be your own friend, sister, mother or daughter. This draws attention to a greater issue in the modernised Hindu religion. You must beware of those that claim to have magical powers. Spirituality and science go hand in hand. What cannot be validated scientifically, logically or through your conscience is clearly something to be avoided. Listen to your instincts and common sense.
The so-called caste superiority as an excuse to abuse others is a groundless claim for power and in western terms it is simply racism and hegemony. All humans are equal.
AAS
Clayton
(Slightly edited)